Title

Rural maternity care and health policy: Parents' experiences

Date of this Version

12-1-2011

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Citation only

Evans, R., Veitch, C., Hays, R. B., Clark, M.,et al. (2011). Rural maternity care and health policy: Parents' experiences. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19 (6) ,306-311.

Access the journal's website.

2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 111700, 111000

© Copyright The Authors, 2011. Australian Journal of Rural Health © National Rural Health Alliance Inc.

ISSN

1038-5282

Abstract

Objective:
To explore rural residents' experiences of access to maternity care with consideration of the policy context.

Design:
This paper describes findings from focus groups with parents which formed part of case study data from a larger study.

Setting:
Four north Queensland rural towns.

Participants:
Thirty-three parents living in one of the four rural towns.

Main outcome measures:
Identifying prevalent themes in case studies regarding rural parents' expectations and experiences in accessing maternity care.

Results:
Parents desired a local, safe and consistent maternity service. Removing or downgrading rural services introduced new barriers to care for rural residents: (i) increased financial costs; (ii) family issues; and (iii) safety concerns.

Conclusions:
Although concerns about rural residents' health status and health care access have received significant policy attention for over a decade, many of the problems which prompted these policy initiatives remain today. Current policy approaches should be re-evaluated in order to improve rural Australians' access to vital health services such as maternity care.

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This document has been peer reviewed.